Images and Words: An Online History of Photography

Introduction | Contents | Foreword | Testing

Focal PressRobert Hirsch Exploring Color Photography, Fifth edition (Focal Press, 2011)
Chapter: 2 Section: 24 Paragraph: 1498
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William Christenberry
Double Cola Sign, Memphis, Tennessee
1966
Chromogenic color print
11 x 14 ins
 
Provided by the artist - William Christenberry
William Christenberry grew up in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, and has referenced his home environment in his work since he began making color photographs in the 1960s. He states,
 
“This is and always will be where my heart is. It is what I care about. Everything that I want to say and try to say through my work comes out of that, the feelings about that place, its positive aspects and its negative aspects. For a long time it was the poorest [county in the state], but it is also a county with great lore and legend … One thing that is quite interesting is the response that people in Alabama have had to my work … They think that I am being critical of Alabama and the South. On the contrary it is a love affair with the place. I just happen to choose the passing of time and its effect on things for aesthetic interest.”
 
LL/41554
 
 

 
David Levinthal
Untitled
1994
Polaroid Polacolor print
24 x 20 ins
 
Stellan Holm Gallery
Courtesy of Stellan Holm Gallery, New York, NY.
 
In much of David Levinthal’s work, including the series Mein Kampf , the artist uses a large-format Polaroid camera with Polacolor ER Land Film, which allows him to alter the sense of scale in his images and make toy figures appear lifelike. He tells us,
 
“Working, as I have for over 30 years, with toy figures and models, you often will discover new ideas as the work progresses. The instant viewing that Polaroid provides is a critical part of this process … Being able to work so quickly also enhances the sense of discovery.”
 
LL/41555
 
 

 
William Eggleston
Untitled
1980
Dye-transfer print
20 x 16 ins
 
Cheim & Read Gallery
Courtesy of Cheim and Read, New York, NY.
 
The 1976 debut of William Eggleston’s Guide at the Museum of Modern Art marks the color photograph’s entrée into the world of fine art. Critics of Eggleston claim he is a slumming aristocrat whose photographs are not worthy of a frame of film. His admirers counter by saying he possesses the gift of being able to make photographs out of nothing. At his best, the seemingly casual and dispassionate manner of his images masks his adroitness as a caustic yet affectionate memoirist of the banality and strangeness of everyday America in which objects take on a personality and become portraits.
 
LL/41556
 
 

 
Joel Meyerowitz
Book cover for Joel Meyerowitz "Cape Light", expanded edition (Bulfinch, 2002)
2002
Book cover
Amazon - USA
LL/41515
 
 

 
Jeff Wall
Dead Troops Talk (a vision after an ambush of a Red Army patrol, near Moqor, Afghanistan, winter 1986)
1992
Transparency in lightbox
90 1/8 x 164 1/8 ins
 
Provided by the artist - Jeff Wall
Jeff Wall’s canvas-size fabricated photograph, situated on the divide between chemical and digital practice, meditates on war. Inspired by Goya, his giant lightbox tableau imagines 13 dead Russian soldiers who appear totally uninterested in the living. This approach is significant, for it acknowledges the role of the artist in representing physical and psychic pain. It dismantles the limited and lingering notion that a photograph is an objective mirror, instead of an expressive medium capable of portraying multiple realities. In her book Regarding the Pain of Others (2003), Susan Sontag used this image to conclude that we, who have not directly experienced “their” specific dread and terror, cannot understand or imagine their suffering.
 
LL/41558
 
 

 
Bill Jay
John Szarkowski
n.d.
Gelatin silver print
Provided by the artist - Bill Jay
Courtesy of Bill Jay, © Bill Jay
 
LL/10200
 
 

 
René De Carufel
Joel Meyerowitz
2005, May
Epson inkjet print (Hahnemuhle paper)
10 x 10 in
 
Provided by the artist - René de Carufel
Courtesy of René de Carufel
 
LL/8579
 
 
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